This is Radio Clash, Latin-style
By Angus MacSwan
LONDON (Reuters) - With their songs of Third World revolution, cries for social justice and broadsides against U.S. foreign policy, British punk rockers The Clash inspired a generation of young Latin Americans who heard their message from the other side of the globe.
Now, more than two decades after the band's demise, a new wave of Latin stars is paying homage to The Clash in a concert featuring versions of their songs put though a blender of salsa, reggae, Mexican and other flavors.
"Spanish Bombs: A Tropical Tribute to The Clash" debuted at London's Barbican Theater on Tuesday night. Backed by a 15-piece band complete with horns, congas and cantina-style accordion, guest singers tore through a repertoire of Clash favorites from "London Calling" to "Guns of Brixton" in true fiesta spirit.
"The attitude, the soul of the band, the songs have been an inspiration, something to follow, to learn from for all Latin American bands," producer Toy Hernandez told Reuters prior to the show.
"They had an awareness of our culture, we got that. It's really interesting lyrics-wise, not just music-wise," said Hernandez, a Mexican producer who has worked with Shakira and Manu Chao and was born about the time The Clash first came charging out of West London.
The Clash -- Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon --made their mark in the punk boom of the mid-1970s, singing of urban riots, unemployment, youth despair and the other ills afflicting Britain.
They then turned their sights on global concerns.
One album was named "Sandinista" in honor of the revolutionaries who had just seized power in Nicaragua. They sang of death squads in El Salvador, U.S. support for Latin American dictatorships, and name-checked people such as Chilean singer Victor Jara, murdered by the Chilean military after General Augusto Pinochet's coup. Continued...